The ITF tribunal has rejected AITA’s contention that its Davis Cup team could face security concerns during the World Group I Play-off tie in Islamabad, paving the way for an Indian tennis team’s visit to Pakistan for the first time in 60 years. If the Indian team fails to travel to Pakistan, the tie will be awarded to the host country and the Indian team will be relegated to World Group II. The last time an Indian Davis Cup team travelled to Pakistan was way back in 1964 when it beat the hosts 4-0.
All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary General Anil Dhupar confirmed to PTI that ITF has rejected their appeal.
“I have got a message that AITA’s appeal has been rejected by the ITF Tribunal. We will approach Sports Ministry on Monday and seek guidance if we will send a team,” Dhupar told PTI.
AITA had recently announced a five-member squad for the February 3-4 World Group I play-off tie and said that if ITF rejects its appeal, it will send the Davis Cup team to Pakistan.
AITA’s request for a neutral venue was rejected by the 15-member Davis Cup Committee (DCC) and later the national federation approached the ITF Tribunal.
“The DCC’s decision to hold the tie in Pakistan has solid grounds and it is pertinent on all the nations to visit the venue (country) selected by the DCC for the Davis Cup ties,” the Tribunal said, Pakistan media reported.
AITA’s contention was that India should not be treated like other countries since the bilateral relations are tense between the two nations.
AITA had also contended that Pakistan will have its General Election on February 8, so the Indian team should not travel.
The DCC had ruled that there is no such situation in Pakistan where an Indian team cannot travel and participate in the Davis Cup tie.
“Pakistan has hosted some important Davis Cup ties just recently in a successful manner so there is no solid grounds as to why Pakistan cannot host the tie against India in a befitting manner.
“Maintaining law and order is a sole responsibility of the host nation. Indian team should rest assured that required security measures will be in order for their travel and participation,” the committee had opined.
India’s top players Sumit Nagal and Sasikumar Mukund have pulled out of the tie, where the winning team will ensure its stay in World Group I for the rest of the 2024 season.
Ramkumar Ramanathan, N Sriram Balaji, Yuki Bhambri, Niki Poonacha and Saketh Myneni were named in the Indian team. Digvijay Pratap Singh, who made his debut against Morocco in India’s last Davis Cup assignment in Lucknow in September, was named as a reserve player in the squad.
India were drawn to meet Pakistan in Pakistan in 2019 also but the ITF had then moved the tie to Kazakshtan on AITA’s request and India emerged winner with an emphatic 4-0 margin.
Pakistan’s top players had then pulled out of the tie in protest against AITA’s decision to not travel to their country. Pakistan fielded rookie players who were no match to India’s strong team.